Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Who is Subject to the Board’s Authority?

    The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards has jurisdiction over Minnesota judges and judicial officers, including:

    • State court judges, including judges of the District Courts, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court
    • Retired judges who are temporarily serving as judges ("senior judges")
    • State court referees, magistrates, and other hearing officers
    • Judges of the Minnesota Tax Court and the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals and the chief administrative law judge

    The Board does not have jurisdiction over:

    • Court administrators or personnel, court reporters, or law enforcement personnel
    • Federal judges (complaints against federal judges are filed with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals)
    • Lawyers (except, in some circumstances, those who become judges or who were judges). Complaints against lawyers may be filed with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.
    • Arbitrators and mediators
    • Administrative law judges (other than the chief administrative law judge) and workers' compensation judges

    2. Will my identify be revealed to the judge?

    Except in unusual circumstances, your identify is not protected.  If the Board decides to investigate a complaint, the Board usually sends a copy of the complaint to the judge and asks for a response.  A judge is prohibited from retaliating against a complainant.  If the Board decides not to investigate a complaint, the judge is usually not notified of the complaint.

    3. Will my complaint be made public?

    Usually, no.  However, a complaint may become public if the Board issues a public reprimand or files formal charges against the judge.

    4. Will filing a complaint with the Board change the decision in my case?

    No. Board proceedings have no effect on court decisions.

    5. Will my complaint disqualify the judge from further involvement in my case?

    No. A Judge will not be removed from a case simply because a complaint was filed with the Board.

    6. Does the Board act on all complaints?

    No.  A complaint will be dismissed if it is not within the Board's jurisdiction or if the Board determines that there is not good cause to investigate it.

    7. If my complaint is justified, will the Board tell me how the judge was disciplined?

    Yes.  At the close of the case, you will receive a letter describing the action taken.

    8. What are some examples of judicial misconduct?

    For examples, see What Can the Board Investigate?

    9. Should I include transcripts and other documents with my complaint?

    If your complaint concerns a specific document, it may be helpful to include it.  However, if you have numerous documents, it is not necessary to include them.  You can state in your complaint that you can provide the documents upon request.

    10. Is there a form I should use for my complaint?

    No, there is no special form.  Simply write a letter to the Board identifying the judge and stating what the judge did that you believe constitutes misconduct.  Usually one or two pages should be enough.  The complaint should be sent by U.S. mail, not e-mail.  You may also file an online complaint. See Directions for Filing a Complaint.

    11.  Can I make a complaint by telephone or in person? 

    Generally, no.  Complaints must be submitted in writing by U.S. mail or online, unless you are unable to do so because of a disability or other reason.  See Accommodation for Disabilities and Language.